Welp, its been a while since I have brewed anything. I’m long overdue.
Last week was a Fishing trip (that was amazing, by the way, North Lake at Bishop, California = rainbow trout everywhere). The weekend before that was something else… the calendar adds up fast.
My Scotch Ale, the Argyle Tyger, was the subject of my last two brew attempts. My wife has been after me to brew some more of the Heather Wit. That will be next, I promised her. For now, I want to do something in between the Argyle Tyger Scotch Ale and a Brown Ale. I want something more substantial than a brown, but not as hardcore as a Scotch Ale.
Have you ever heard of a Burton Ale? Aka a British Ale. BASS is a Burton Ale. I looked at some recipes and thought that this might be what I wanted to do. Then I got to the HOMEBREWER in San Diego and went off the reservation. I invented my own recipe while I stood there. I had Scotch Ale, Brown Ale and Burton Ale on the brain, so this beer will be something like a hybrid of those style.
Ingredients for “The Tooth”
2 pounds of powdered dark dried malt extract (DME).
3 pounds of powdered amber dried malt extract (DME).
3 pounds of liquid malt.
0.5 pounds of Cara Abbey Malt
0.7 pounds of Crystal/Caramel Malt (80L)
0.52 pounds of Crystal/Caramel Malt (120L)
0.25 pounds of Whole Black Malt (150L)
So roughly a 1o pound wort.
What bitter hops to counter this sweetness? In my reserves from last brew, there were some leftovers..
1.0 oz. Willamette Hops
0.25 oz. Fuggle Hops.
Most of the Scotch Ale recipes I have seen use at least 2 ounces of hops. Most of those recipes were using more than 10 pounds of extract/grain, however. Where is the balance? If I do not use enough hops, my beer will be too sweet. That I do not want. So, I will get another ounce of hops tomorrow.
I decided to buy some Northern Brewer Hops. It came in a 2 oz. package, so I split it in half (I eye-balled it because I do not have a scale) and put half away for another day of brewing.
Now I had 1 oz of Northern Brewer Hops, 1 oz. of Williamette and .25 of Fuggle Hops.
OK, I have all the ingredients to brew…. wait what about the yeast?
Darrel Brown was the first to mention the idea of re-using a yeast cake. He floated the idea of pulling the beer from the fermenter (into a bottling bucket) and leaving the yeast cake in the fermenter. Then brewing another beer and then instead of “pitching yeast” like in a standard brewing procedure, just cool the wort and toss it onto the previous yeast cake that is still in the fermenter.
Initially I had some concerns. 1) will the yeast be strong enough to do its job? If you think about it, the yeast cake probably has an extremely powerful cell count of yeast. As the yeast had been eating the sugars of the previous beer that was in the fermenter, the yeast was also growing and multiplying (like my waist line at Thanksgiving- am I right gang?) <<—- that was for Colin Quinn. Anyway, I believe that there will be more than enough viable yeast in that fermenter to ferment this new beer.
So, I left the yeast cake of Edinburgh Scottish Yeast that had just fermented a monster Scottish Ale. I would brew this new beer (the Tooth) and then dump it right on top of the previous yeast cake. The yeast cake has been sealed since I removed the beer from the fermenter. In fact, I added about 14 grams of brown sugar in order to get the yeast going a little bit. Also, if I am being honest, there was about .5 gallons of the previous beer in the fermenter, with the yeast cake, because I ran out of bottles while I was bottling. So, the Sabretooth will have a little Argyle Tyger D.N.A in it, so to speak.
The preparation is over. I have cleaned everything. Brew Time.
The steeping bag filled with my grain concoction is nearing the end of the 20 minute steeping session in 1.5 gallons of 165-170 degree water. This really is like making tea. Boiling water and a silk steeping bag containing grains.
Once the 20 minutes of steeping (tea making) are over, I remove the bag and hold it over the pot. The remaining “tea” drips back into the pot.I pour 1 pint of water over bag (while it is still over the pot) in order to give the grains one more chance to give me what I want.
From there, I put the pot back over the flame and let the temperature climb again. Once we are closer to a boil, I remove the pot from the flame again and I will add the 5 pounds of DME (Dried Malt Extract) a little bit at a time. I will stir it in evenly and PATIENTLY. I dumped too much in last time and it made a clumpy mess. I do not keep the pot on the flame for this because the DME is delicate in powder form, and could burn. Then it might taste like cat shit in a trailer fire. We wouldnt want that.
Now that all 5 pounds of DME are properly dissolved into the water/wort tea, I will put the pot back on the flame and add half of the hop mixture. i set my timer for 60 minutes. I add roughly 0.5 ounces of Willamette hope, 0.5 ounces of Northern Brewer hops and .125 ounces of Fuggle. I stand over the pot like a cartoon witch, slowly stirring my cauldron. I should add that Norther Brewer hops smell DELICIOUS. These are the most impressive hops so far (from the perspective that I actually considered eating them they smell so good). Some accounts say that Northern Brewer hops add an “earthy” and “spicy” character to your beer.
After about 25 minutes, I decide to stir in the liquid malt extract (LME). LME will add some sugars for the yeast to eat. This will increase the beers substance and alcohol content. More extract = bigger, more substantial beer.
I continue to stir the pot. Now at about 35 minutes into the boil, I add about 1/5 of the remaining hops. I do the same after 40 minutes and 45 minutes.
With 10 minutes left in the boil, I add the remaining hops, which is probably 0.2 ounces of Northern Brewer, 0.2 ounces of Willamette and 0.04 ounces of Fuggle. The point that you introduce your hops to the boil has an impact on the beer. I will write a post on this later in the week (once I learn it myself).
So, now the boil is done. I turn off the flame and remove the pot from the stove. Outside I use my wort chiller to bring the temperature of the wort down to the suggested 68 degrees. I add a gallon of chilled water to help with this.
While the wort is chilling, I sterilize my hydrometer and pour a gallon of chilled water into the fermenter that holds the yeast cake and about 0.5 gallons of Argyle Tyger.
Lets do a little math. That makes roughly 1.5 gallons of liquid in the fermenter with the yeast cake, and 2.5 gallons of liquid in the pot with the wort (1.5 gallons from the original boil + the gallon of chilled water I just added). So as of right now, I have 4 gallons of liquid.
***Some of you smarty pants may be thinking that I did not account for the steam that came off in the boil, but remember that I dumped a pint of water over the grains during steeping.
Once the wort is chilled down to 68 degrees, I dump it into the fermenting bucket (that hold the yeast cake, argyle tyger, 13 grams of brown sugar and chilled water. There is roughly 4 gallons of liquid in the bucket now. I add 1 more gallon of chilled water and stir like a mad man. Once the froth subsides, I take a hydrometer reading. Using a bucket (rather than a glass carboy) is cool for hydrometer readings because you can just plop the hydrometer right in there like a rubber ducky in the bath tub.
Just make sure that you sterilize the hydrometer first. The reading was 1.08.
If this beer ferments like a champion and the final gravity reading is 1.01 – Alcohol by Volume (ABV) will be 9.2%
If the beer does an ok fermentation down to 1.02 – ABV will be 7.8%
If the beer does a meh fermentation to 1.03 – ABV will be 6.5% alcohol, and that will still be ok.
Lets see what becomes of the Sabretooth Scottish Ale.
5/7/14 – 6:45pm – After about 24 hours, I checked on the Tooth. The airlock was bubbling happily and consistently. It looks like the fermentation is going strong.